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non-US citizen(non-Arab) aiming for Arab Studies


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Hi all!


I’m a non-US citizen(Korean) trying to apply for Arab Studies programs in UC, JHU, etc. After a short period in the private sector, I realized I wasn’t cut out for strict hierarchy and was more inclined towards creating knowledge, rather than standing aside as a bystander and consuming it. But being a non-US citizen living in Seoul, there are considerable risks in jumping on the boat, and was hoping somebody here who has hit similar walls would be so kind to answer some of these.

I had a few questions regarding the application and future prospects. I have good TOEFL and GRE, I don’t have problem with Modern Standard Arabic, and I’m interested in IR(neo-realist perspective), political economy, and the dynamics between state policy/institutions and gender/individual identity/nation, etc.

1) As you can see from above my interests are scattered, and that’s mainly because here it’s really hard to get your hand on the mainstream discourse in regards to MENA. What are the mainstream topics? Is it quantitative or qualitative? Who does it well? I’ve read works of Lisa Anderson and Gregory Gaus the third, but any others?

2) What are the future job prospects for Arab Studies graduates/or non-US citizens with an MA? : I know this is a pathetic question, but it’s a pathetic question that needs its answer, especially when I’m unsure whether to pursue my ph.d and I've burnt enough bridges to make it almost impossible to come back to Korea.

3) Lack of experience : Being born and raised in Far East I don’t have any heritage/roots or firsthand experience of the region. I have only worked as a translator in NGOs in Korea, mainly translating documents. Will this lack of experience have consequences in my application? Can a good GRE and SOP make it up for it?


Thanks in advance!

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